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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight -Essay Response

By:   •  November 1, 2014  •  Essay  •  1,023 Words (5 Pages)  •  2,473 Views

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With tests come learning opportunities. As Gawain was constantly working towards fulfilling the covenant he shared with the green knight, he was repeatedly being tested. Sometimes these trials resulted in success and other times failure. Nevertheless, the noble knight never robbed himself of the opportunity to grow into a better man and a more chivalrous knight by learning from these testing experiences. Along his journey, Gawain learned three important and life changing lessons: the family of his knighthood truly loved him no matter what, when he followed troth and chivalry with all of his heart, he achieved much, and as a man of Christ, sin is inevitable but he learnt to grow from his failure.

After having completed the great journey involving the Green Knights games, Gawain had faltered. He even goes to the extent of admitting his wrong by saying, "And now I am found to be flawed and false,/ through treachery and untruth I have totally failed" (2382-2384). Gawain returned to his family unsure of what would come. Although he had come to terms with his failures along the way of his journey, he was unsure of what his brothers may think of him. He held this insecurity and the sinful sash across his chest as he took the chance of returning to King Arthur and the other Knights. Upon his arrival, he was reassured that his brothers and lord truly loved him. Proof of this profound and forgiving love was evident in their reaction to their noble knight returning home: "The king kissed his knight and so did the queen,/ and Gawain was embraced by his band of brothers" (2492-243). They accepted not only his new testimony but, each individually made a very visible display of their respect for what Gawain had accomplished and how they themselves related to sinful nature. As the narrator describes, "So that slanting green stripe was adopted as their sign,/ and each knight who held it was honored ever after" (2519-2520).

Life threw Gawain for a loop but when he chose to follow troth and true chivalry, it protected and guarded him from evil. Despite the fact that the poem talked much of his personal strive for perfection, Gawain strongly conveys the need of God for his moral and physical journey. The narrator conveys this clearly by saying, "He rides the path and prays,/ dismayed by his misdeeds,/ and signs Christ's cross and says,/ "Be near me in my need" (759-762). When Gawain put his full trust in God, He carried him (in his weak state) through the wilderness, the temptation, and all of the games. Gawain had nothing but utter respect for God: "I praise the Lord who upholds the high heavens,/ for I have what I hoped for above all else by/ His grace" (1256-1258). Because of his faithfulness to the Lord, he was successful in gaining the admiration of the Green Knight which saved his life. He praised Gawain for withstanding his secret test: "I sent [my wife] to test you - and in truth it turns out/ you're by the far the most faultless fellow on earth" (2362-2363). Gawain not only put his trust in God but also in His word. His knowledge of the biblical scriptures allowed him to forgive himself. The noble knight spoke of Adam, Solomon, Samson and David. He elaborated in saying, "Yet all were charmed and changed/ by wily womankind./ I suffered just the same,/ but clear me of my crime" (2425-2429).

Though the lessons already mentioned were important in Gawain's great expedition, the change in Gawain's heart was the final and greatest of lessons. No matter how Christ-like Gawain tried to be, he was

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